How to Save Money on Business Software
When it comes to finding software that’s right for your business, there are several things you can do to save a lot of money. Some of these things may seem to be obvious, but are often overlooked. The general theme is to document what you need the software to do, using the talent and employees who already work for you, instead of high-priced consultants or software developers.
Identify Your Business Needs
The same things that make your business unique are the reasons why you can’t find a software program that does everything you need. What are the innovations that result in your unique product or service? What information or reports might make decisions easier?
What are the things you need software to do for you? Why aren’t those needs met in your current system? Make a list to share with coworkers, and prioritize based on “must-haves” and those that could possibly wait until later.
Find Your Pain
What are the current “pains,” or problems that your workforce experiences? Things like supply chain challenges, meeting deadlines, quality control, and other headaches can best be addressed if they are identified, along with any ideas or aspirations your employees have to solve the puzzles.
Instead of general pains like “not able to get parts on time,” brainstorm some strategies that would help make the pain go away. For example, tracking lead times by vendor, and displaying a report of all the parts needed for a job, ranked by lead time from shortest to longest. (Be specific.)
Define Workflow Processes
List all the steps that are taken to perform a task that you need your software to do, for example, shipping a product. Go into detail about any non-standard processes that your business needs. The more information you can provide to your software partners, the better they can recommend affordable solutions.
This is a great place to get your staff involved (see below). Assign each department the task of writing down what they do each day, what existing systems they use, and what are shortcomings that could be improved. Then organize it all in an outline, or SOP document that can be used as a checklist when evaluating programs, or provided to your software developers.
Get Your Staff Involved Early
The biggest software expenses come from redeveloping after the end users get a hold of it. They ask, “Can it do this?” Or they say, “I don’t like the way that works.” Find out what they need by asking them to make a wish list. Not everything will be possible (or affordable), but their involvement helps to avoid costly omissions or resistance to change. Those not involved in the selection and vetting process are more likely to complain later.
If you have any existing SOPs, training materials, or instructions that you provide new employees, for example, these are a great resource for software evaluation. What are the key processes that must be handled in a new system? Encourage your employees to dream a little, and come up with a “wish list.” Not all of their dreams will be possible, of course, but it helps them to feel heard, and provides a framework for teaching them how to do those things in the new system.
Buy a Complete System
Purchasing a software program that is fully developed as a standalone system is very wise, even if you won’t use all of it. Why? It’s simple: Because a proven, cohesive system that is fully developed needs less work done. Often, preexisting components can be repurposed for your needs at much less cost than building them from scratch.
Also, a complete system usually costs only a fraction of the thousands of hours of programming, testing, and perfecting that went into its creation. You will be gaining the collective benefit of an entire team of experts, instead of just one or two developers.
Benefit From More Than Just Software
Speaking of benefits, ACG is a company that for over twenty years has been helping to translate existing workflows and wish lists into cost-effective software that provides an excellent return on investment. ProSTART MFG is an end-to-end solution for all kinds of manufacturing enterprises.
More than the software, you’ll be gaining an experienced team that knows how to make the transition as easy as possible on your employees AND your budget!
Contact us today, and tell us about your business software needs!
22521 Avenida Empresa, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: (949) 713-5162